Wednesday, March 22, 2006

who's your daddy?

Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
In this picture I’m 6. I’m modeling my new Garanimals (remember those?) for my dad and step-mom. I’m vamping. I feel unabashedly beautiful (and this may be the last time I feel so unabashed – feeling pretty gets complicated as you get older).

Behind me is my dad’s stereo, flanked by his JBL speakers. It’s the only thing against the wall. It was one of the few things in the room.

My dad was in the music business and the stereo was the hearth of our home. And just like a log fire, the kids weren’t allowed to touch it – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t frequently ablaze. He’d lay down the demo tracks with keen anticipation (they arrived on our stoop with almost the same frequency that the milkman delivered dairy) – whether it was vinyl on the turntable or tape on the reel-to-reel – and, if it was good, he’d turn it up loud, saying: “Listen to this. Do you hear that? Just listen.” And we would, and the amp tubes would glow like embers while he pointed out the riffs and rhythms and beauty of it all.

I got my rock and roll education from my dad – which made things complicated when I hit high school and needed to rebel (I took the jazz route and I’m sure he was laughing at me the whole time, knowing how easy one transitions into another). But now I appreciate classic rock like a kid coming back to the Mother Tongue.

Nothing soothes me like the Doors’ Light My Fire; nothing quiets me like the Eagles’ Hotel California. And no memory is quite as precious as that of my dad lowering the needle to the vinyl to listen again to a well-loved track, gently, like a priest placing the sacrament on a parishioner's tongue, saying “Listen to this. Just listen.”


opiliones said...

Hmm...I know I'm only a few years older than you, but I never heard of garanimals until I was out of college and saw ads on tv. I was so deprived! Oh wait - my mom made all our clothes so I guess that's pretty cool too.

BTW, your photo compositions just keep getting better and better.

litwit said...

baby, you're a star! and what a lovely tribute to your father.

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